Chamarajanagar district, the southern tip of Karnataka on the boundary with Tamil Nadu, figures among the most backward regions of the State. Making things worse for the district has been the superstitious belief that Chief Ministers visiting Chamarajanagar town will lose power in the months to follow.
A self-confessed agnostic (despite many temple visits during the election season), the present Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, visited the town nine times since assuming office in May 2013. He said at a rally recently that he had proved that Chief Ministers should visit Chamarajanagar if they had to survive their full term.
In fact, Mr. Siddaramaiah is the first Chief Minister of Karnataka to complete his full term in office in the past 40 years after the late D. Devaraj Urs.
Old-timers recall that the “jinx” started surrounding Chamarajanagar after Urs, incidentally Karnataka’s longest-serving Chief Minister, lost power in 1980 after a visit to the town. When his successors R. Gundu Rao, Ramakrishna Hegde, S.R. Bommai and Veerendra Patil too lost power after visiting the town, the superstitious began terming the town a “graveyard of Chief Ministers”.
When H.D. Kumaraswamy visited Chamarajanagar in May 2007, a first by a Chief Minister in 17 years, he said he was advised against the trip by his well-wishers and family members. But the end of Mr. Kumaraswamy’s 20-month tenure in October 2007 was fixed before he assumed office in February 2006.
While his successors B.S. Yeddyurappa and D.V. Sadananda Gowda did not go anywhere near Chamarajanagar town, their successor Jagadish Shettar visited the town weeks ahead of the May 2013 elections to the Assembly, which paved the way for Mr. Siddaramaiah to assume power.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not visit the town during his recent trip to the district, Mr. Siddaramaiah said he was afraid that he would lose his chair